Pics: Abhijith N Kolpe
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (SP/ANK)
Mangaluru, Sep 23: The city is wearing a new look, thanks to the Smart City works. However, the engineers who prepared the plans seem to have failed to take into account the convenience of the road users.
The road from the clock tower, A B Shetty circle, Rao & Rao circle, Hampankatta road and the road from Marnamikatte to Mangaladevi are being developed into four lane roads under the Smart City project. Dividers on these roads have been removed and one way traffic has been enforced. However, many predict that this arrangement will give rise to chaos and major disasters in the days to come.
College, PWD, health department, forest department, transport department, office of the police commissioner, office of the deputy commissioner etc are located between clock tower and Rao & Rao circle. Thousands of people visit this area for various purposes. Now, crossing the roads has become a huge challenge for the common people. The road between Marnamikatte and Mangaladevi too has dense traffic because of the presence of school, market, temple and residential areas. As these roads have been widened and dividers have been erected, crossing them has become a herculean task.
Due to the removal of the divider, the roads are very wide. It makes it difficult for pedestrians to cross the road. If a person coming from Pandeshwar has to go to Mini Vidhana Soudha, then he has to travel through DC office-Rao & Rao circle-Clock Tower to reach Mini Vidhana Soudha.
Speaking to Daijiworld, former MLA J R Lobo said, “In order to make Mangaluru as a model city, Smart City project was sanctioned. There was a plan to develop tourism and IT sector along with development works to attract investors under the project. It is disheartening to see how the project plan is being implemented. Normal works are being undertaken under Smart City by digging the roads, footpaths which are in good condition.
“The underpass project worth Rs 6-7 crore has been undertaken near Townhall. Is it a right project in that region? In the coming days, the underpass will be a den for beggars and other illegal activities. During my tenure as an MLA, I had planned for a Delhi model over bridge with escalator worth Rs 1.25 crore which could not take off due to documentation works by PWD.
“Will people make use of the underpass? Is the underpass safe at night? Money has been wasted on this project. They could have constructed an overbridge worth Rs 1.25 crore instead of underpass worth Rs 6-7 crore.
“There was no need of removing the divider on Townhall-AB Shetty circle-Rao & Rao circle-Clock Tower stretch. The road was in good condition with divider. What was the need to spend money by removing the divider? Instead, they could have planned any other good projects which could attract investors. We can see roads and footpaths being dug everywhere which are already in good condition,” he said.
A pedestrian, Jabbar Mallur said, “There was no need of removing the median on the Clock Tower-AB Shetty circle stretch. It poses danger while pedestrians cross the road. This is a busy road where government offices operate and people walk on this stretch. The entire plan looks unscientific.”
It is clear that when drafting the Smart City project, the officials concentrated on construction of roads without giving a thought to how the people will cross the roads. On roads where dividers have been removed, the Smart City officials have failed to draw up plans to facilitate people to cross the roads. The people going to government offices, shops, students, and people in general are facing hardships because of the lack of foresight on the part of the planners.